Do You Facebook, Twitter, or Blog? Your Patients Do.

Do You Facebook, Twitter, or Blog? Your Patients Do.

You walk into your patient’s room to talk to him about his lab results. He is being treated for lung cancer and has had several admissions over the last few months. He asks a lot of specific questions about his labs and plan of care. As you carefully answer his questions, he pulls out an iPhone. “Hold on,” he says, “I need to Tweet this.”

You walk out to the nurses’ station. There’s been a call out for tonight. The charge nurse goes online and posts the open shift on the unit’s Facebook page. Within a few minutes, a coworker responds that she can cover the shift.  

Before making an appointment with a fertility doctor, your friend and her husband check out several of the many “rate your doctor” websites to find who has the highest rankings in their area. After reading several reviews about a particular physician who is rated high in bedside manner with a courteous staff, they call to make an appointment.

A friend of mine recently had major surgery to remove a large abdominal cyst. She posted details about her recovery—and pictures of her healing  scars—on my Facebook page, wondering if I thought the wound was healing properly.

These are just a few examples of the way technology is changing the culture of healthcare. Don’t believe it? Well, you are reading the Nursing Blog right now.

Recent statistics show that over 60% of adults seek health information on the internet. Many patients, like the man admitted for cancer in the first scenario, use social media to communicate with their family and friends—and save making multiple phone calls or emails. Some nurses use social media like Twitter to educate the public and promote health and wellness.

Technology has given us the opportunity to share as much as we want about our medical experiences, knowledge, and personal health issues with the world—or our 500 Facebook friends.  

Do you Facebook, Twitter, or blog? How do you see technology and social media changing your nursing practice?

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